“I just…I haven’t seen her in so long,” bawled Vakt the Rosy into his cups.

“There, there. Tinuviel’s just not feeling well after getting scratched up by a jackalwere in the middle of a cavern infested with gibberlings,” said Iffy the elf. “She’ll be down soon enough.

“She’s just so short…so sweet…so tiny…so…so…” Vakt began bawling again.

“I think you’ve had enough,” deadpanned Chanel the elven cleric. “How much have you had to drink already?”

“It’s just root beer,” Vakt sniffed. “House blend. Iazgu’s still making my first tequila slammer.”

“Maybe you should go a bit easy on the tequila slammers,” said Adenan the halfling.

“HEY!” barked Iazgu the Flayer, demon of the Abyss and chambermaid/bartender for the Demon Arms Inn. “I’ll not hear a word said against my tequila slammers! It’s a recipe of the abyssal realms, strong enough to stun a quasit, and it’s the only thing close to a real drink that’s been served here in 10,000 years!”


Creeping up on the clearing, they saw Mercury the bulldog in the midst of a crowd of howling gibberlings, not unlike the ones they had fought in Ransack Cavern earlier. He was being ridden bareback by a gibberling while the others hooted and cheered at the spectacle. For his part, Mercury seemed rather resigned to this, accepting it as just a fact of life: the sky was blue, the trees were green, and he was ridden by tiny hyperactive monsters.

Adenan grabbed one of the scruffy horrors by his hair and yanked him backwards. “What do you think you’re doing?” she growled.

“Riding! Fun!” squeaked the thrashing gibberling. “I know you! You killed Gus! And Gus Two! I’m Gus Four!”

“Let the bulldog go,” Adenan continued, as menacingly as any halfling could, “or I’ll squash you into jelly before I throw you in the river.”

“No! Not jelly! Jellied gibbs can’t get into gibberheaven!” The gibberling seemed to steel himself a bit. “But dog is ours. Has been forever.”

“No he isn’t.”

“Is too! Used to guard cave! Hatched him ourselves!”

“No you didn’t.”

“Don’t know where dogs come from!” the gibberling wailed.


The library golem was impassive. “You must return the stolen book and pay the fine, or your life is forfeit. The fine is 50 gold. Pay or die.”

Iffy raised her hands. “But my library has an interlibrary loan program with the Elderbrary,” she said in her most convincingly scholarly tone. “We don’t have to pay any fine if we return it!”

Clicking and whirring as it processed this, the golem demurred. “Very well. Surrender the Monster Manual and we will consider your hold lifted.”

Longingly, reluctantly, Iffy gave up the tome. The library golem inserted the volume into its book drop slot, whirred some more, and departed.

A moment later, Iffy the elf turned on Mr. Funderberger IV, who throughout the conversation had been trying to back into the tick copse of woods surrounding the meeting spot. “YOU!” she roared. “THAT BOOK WAS STOLEN!”

“I gave you a good deal,” he whined.

“NO YOU DIDN’T!” Iffy shrieked. “I HAD TO DO THINGS FOR THAT BOOK!”

“What exactly did you have to do?” said Chanel the elven cleric. “You still haven’t told us how much sugar you had to give.”

“I will neither confirm nor deny a specific amount of sugar given!” Iffy roared. “But he’s gonna pay!”

Mr. Funderberger IV had quite enough; he made to bolt. Iffy, in an uncharacteristic show of physical prowess, tripped him with her staff.

Then, she proceeded to pummel him senseless.

“Let’s see how you like THIS sugar!” she screamed, drawing her dagger. Casting Phineas’s Phun Phoam on Funderberger’s head, she used her dagger to shave off his carefully coiffed locks. Then she took everything of value in his pockets, even down to his phony tin sword.

“I think you’ve gotten your revenge, Iffy,” said Adenan.

“Hardly!” Iffy continued. “Mercury! Bulldog! Get over here and piss on Mr. Funderberger IV! We’ll see how much sugar you get after that!”

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Dear New Low-Card Santa,

Let me be the first to welcome you to the World Santa Federation! You’ve just joined a fraternity that’s dedicated to the performing art of Professional Clausing™, people that Claus for love of the game and for hardcore fans of Clausing everywhere. I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you a few pieces of information and advice:

1. “Kayfabe” is our term for maintaining a sense of reality and willing suspension of disbelief about our performances. We do not break kayfabe in the WSF. Let me say that again: WE DO NOT BREAK KAYFABE IN THE WSF. When in costume, you will be expected to hold to the notion that you are the one, the only, the indisputable Santa Claus. Where this is not possible, as in the case of older children and multi-performer Clausing events, you will be expected to maintain that you are a magical helper fully bonded and licensed by the one, the only, the indisputable Santa Claus. Breaking kayfabe is grounds for immediate and irrevocable expulsion from the WSF. Keep in mind that you are also expected to maintain kayfabe if recognized when out of costume, so always be ready for some fun improvisational Clausing, even in June.

2. Breaking kayfabe is allowable in the WSF under the following circumstances only:
– Legitimate injury requiring medical treatment.
– Physical violence or threats of violence by non-WSF individuals.
– Other circumstances authorized in writing by the WSF.

3. Let me be clear about one thing: nobody goes straight from amateur Clausing to the 34th Street Macy’s right away. WSF membership offers you the benefits of our promotional network and negotiated pay scale, but make no mistake: you will be starting as a low-card, the bottom rung of the ladder, and will be expected to work your way up. Expect to Claus in small-town stores, Wal-Marts, and private functions. If you do well at these, more opportunities like small shopping centers and suburban mall anchor stores will open up. Eventually, you might work your way up to the level of Gilner “Krampusbane” Kirks or Lian “Zwarte Klaüs” Atchisson–but don’t count on it. And hey, if low-card or mid-card Clausing is all you want to do, great! The WCF is nothing without talented people Clausing at all levels.

4. You may choose your own team of elves and a Mrs. Claus, but keep in mind that they must be members of our affiliates WEF and WMCF respectively, and offered WEF/WMCF scale pay and benefits as appropriate. Refer to your handbook for the formula on which events and venues the WCF will compensate you for elf/Mrs. Claus use and which we will not. Remember that WEF/WMCF members are strictly prohibited from Clausing themselves; they are not substitutes. Similarly, appearing as an elf or Mrs. Claus yourself will be considered a break of kayfabe and grounds for immediate dismissal.

5. Costume rental or purchase are at your discretion; WCF members qualify for discounts from most major suppliers. If you choose to go off-brand, keep in mind that costuming of you, your elves, and your Mrs. Claus must meet WCF standards or you risk WCF sanctions for breaking kayfabe. The same goes for set dressing and props.

Again, let me renew my welcome. You’ve made the right decision by going pro with the WCF and we’re here to help you with your Clausing experience at every step of the way. Wherever your Professional Clausing™ journey begins and ends, the WCF is right behind you.

Sincerely,
Atlas Cunas
Founder and CEO, World Santa Federation

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Brief History
Elvish oral histories speak of a time when all elves lived together in a distant land, in harmony with nature and themselves. Discord supposedly arose when the ancient elves began splitting into factions: one believed that elvenkind was inherently evil, and strove to contain this evil nature with laws and a structured society, while the other held that elves were inherently good and trusted them to act on their instincts without recourse to law and organization.

There may be a germ of truth in this, as it does explain the difference between the two major groups of elves, the light and the dark. The names arose because of minor differences in skin tone, though the genetic differences between the two groups are nil. Both existed in the oral histories of the other, despite immense geographical isolation: the first recorded meeting between light and dark elves took place only in recent times.

“Light” elves
As early as the third century of the recorded era, advanced elvish civilizations had begun to arise on the western seaboard of the major continent. Beginning as a series of petty kingdoms, over the course of centuries the various elvish principalities were united under a single king. While the dynasties in power changed relatively frequently, a light elvish king remained on the throne until the very recent era of revolutions.

However, increasing dogmatism and a rigid hierarchy eventually led this sophisticated civilization to stagnate. While the light elvish kingdom was the most technologically advanced in the world at one point, by the dawn of the modern era it was weak and suffered invasion and strife on an unprecedented scale. Only recently has progress been made in forging the light elves into a modern nation state.

“Dark” elves
While a number of powerful dark elven kingdoms rose and fell on the minor continent, they never approached the size or complexity of the light elves’. By and large, most of the dark elves lived in small groups, widely scattered, living as hunters, gatherers, or farmers.

This lack of centralized states left the dark elves vulnerable to conquest from abroad, and following the reestablishment of contact between the major and minor continents, they were largely subjugated by human and dwarvish conquerors. The elves were decimated in battle, and their numbers have remained low ever since, largely supplanted by settlers from the major continent.

Biological Sketch
Elves, like humans, range considerably in height, though they are generally of slender build. While strong, they lack the constitution of humans, dwarves, and orcs and must make up for their disadvantage in strength through their lithe nature and rigorous training. Skin tone ranges are similar to those of humans, with light elves tending toward lighter colors and dark elves toward a tanner complexion.

Elves have slow and difficult pregnancies; gestation lasts fourteen to eighteen months on average, and there is a refraction period of 2-4 years before another pregnancy is possible. Elvish children also mature very slowly, typically reaching adulthood at thirty to thirty-five years. Their slow metabolism gives elves significant resistance to poison and environmental toxins, however, and also greatly increases their lifespan, which is two hundred years on average. No upper limit is known; exceptionally hardy elves have been known to live over a thousand years, though documentation is difficult to come by.

Cultural Notes
Elvish cultures are often collectivist, focusing on the good of the group over that of the individual. Many dark elves lack personal names, substituting some earned deed or distinction instead. Both “light” and “dark” elvish cultures tend toward xenophobia and isolation, and while they have never been known to enslave or conquer other races (preferring suzerainty), many elvish cultures still hold them in low esteem.

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